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Dismal performance for reasons

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on June 02, 2019 with No Comments

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi came back with numbers that defied expectations, a landslide victory bigger than the first one and becoming only the second Prime Minister after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to come back with a majority. His party, BJP did so at the expense of Congress party which campaigned on a secular platform while leveling charges of corruption against Narendra Modi in Raffel deal. At the same time, the nationalist message of Narendra Modi in the light of Ballakot attack in Pakistan found favour with the voters.

For Congress it was a massive defeat –the second in a row. A loss that came with certain reasons and many lessons.

Economy has been always an agenda in the elections in India. However, this time Narendra Modi and the BJP took a prominent position of exploiting tension with Pakistan and the national security came to the fore. On the other hand the Congress party and its leader Rahul Gandhi were campaigning with the slogan “Chowidar Chor hai” (Calling Modi a thief ). Most of the people had no knowledge of what he was referring to. Other issues that had hurt the common man, like Demonetization, GST, high rate of unemployment were not touched by Congress. As Modi’s message grew louder, Congress failed to address the core issues, that included India’s long established secular ideals. In a clear sign the Congress party is in real trouble, its own leader Rahul Gandhi lost his family’s traditional seat of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, and the party could have a saving grace in Kerala and Punjab. The Congress party isn’t known for its ability to learn lessons, rather is known to become complacent based on certain good results. However, there are lot many lessons for the party to learn.  What went so horribly wrong for Congress President Rahul Gandhi that he lost from his family’s pocket borough Amethi Lok Sabha constituency? Going by the account that the locals have given to the various TV channels, apparent lack of Interest of Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra this time.  Rahul, who was elected three times consecutively from the constituency in 2004, 2009 and 2014, lost this time by over 55,000 votes. 
The only other time that a Gandhi family member has lost from this constituency, created in 1967, was in 1977 and it was Rahul’s uncle late Sanjay Gandhi who was defeated in an anti-Emergency wave. 
Why would anyone vote for such a person who does not visit the people of his constituency? As per reports, he visited his riding almost three years back only to come back for seeking votes in April-May this year.  Notably, Rahul Gandhi was conspicuous by his absence even during the day of polling in the constituency while his rival Smithi Irani was active. She lost to Rahul Gandhi five years back but is known to have nurtured the riding. Earlier, Priyanka Gandhi used to camp in Amethi and Rae Bareli and would take care of the campaigning. But this time, both of them were busy in campaigning in other parts of the state. In their absence, the campaign carried out by the local leaders hardly generated any buzz among the people.

Also an element of complacency had crept in the Congress Party.
In 2014, the Congress was wiped out in Rajasthan, barely managed a solitary seat in Chhattisgarh and two seats in Madhya Pradesh. But defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party in the three Hindi heartland states in last year’s Assembly elections gave a party hope of going into general elections on its own and was not invited to be a party of the Grand Allaince formed by two biggest opponents Mayawati and Akilesh Yadav for Uttar Pradesh. The Congress party went to the elections expecting to get around half of the seats in these four states, but managed the lone seat won by Sonia Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh, two seats in Chhattisgarh and one in Madhya Pradesh while drawing blank in Rajasthan. The Congress party was way off the mark. To add insult to the injury some of its promoinent leaders, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Digvijaya Singh, Raj Babbar, lost their seats too.   Nakul Nath, son of Chief Minister Kamal Nath, managed to win his father’s old seat of Chhindwara, but by a small margin. In Rajasthan, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav lost as did Manvendra Singh, son of former BJP stalwart Jaswant Singh.

Congress went into these elections without taking into consideration ground realities, expecting the people to vote for the party in the same way as they did in the last assembly elections in those three states and other states to follow suit. With no understanding of the real mathematics of the elections, and not bothering about the chemistry to bond with the voters, and with an inexperienced Rahul Gandhi at the helm of affairs sense of complacency was quiet evident. It took the voters for granted while the BJP went on to run an aggressive campaign to woo voters from all sections.


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